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UMBC Department of Music
Dr. Rahilia Hasanova
Adjunct Instructor




B.A. Baku Music College (1972)

M.A. Baku Conservatory (1977)

Advanced Degrees, Baku Conservatory (1981 and 2006)


Rahilia Hasanova was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. She was educated as a classically trained composer, music theorist and pianist at the Baku Music College (B.A.’72) and composer, music theorist, musicologist, pianist, and organist at the Baku Conservatory (M.A.’77, Aspirantura’81). Her dissertation titled “Music Theory as a Representation of Sound Spectra” (Candidate of Sciences’06). Being a follower of Shostakovich composition school, she represents a new generation of a contemporary experimental stream in   classical music of Azerbaijan.

Rahilia Hasanova has a unique composition style that is a combination of elements of Azerbaijani traditional mugam and ashug music and new contemporary composition techniques such as aleatory and multi-polyphonic music. She is the first among Azerbaijani composers to have used ethno-minimalism. Her Sufism-inspired composition “Se’maa” was commissioned by Amsterdam’s “Neuw Ensemble” and was performed at the Millennium Festival of religious music (2000). She is the author of the first Azerbaijani choir opera (“Javidi-destgah”) and pantomime-ballet (“Kosa-Kosa”).

Rahilia Hasanova’s compositions cover a wide range of music genres and instrumentation, from chamber music to symphonic compositions. Her music was performed all around the world at many international festivals, symposia, and concerts of contemporary music, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and so on.  She had portrait concerts in Baku, Azerbaijan (1993, 2004, 2006), Poland (1997), England (2001), and Germany (2004), and Baltimore, the USA (2012). She received multiple national music awards. Her published music compositions include:

  • “Eastern Bazaar” – duo for violin and guitar, 2012
  • “The Pulse” – trio for violin, clarinet and piano, 2012
  • “Gaval Dash” for cello and piano, 2012
  • “Rondo for Two” for duo violins, 2012
  • “The dance of Fire” for violin solo, 2012
  • “Fugues and Postludes” for piano, 2011
  •  “The Mystical Moon” for full symphony orchestra, 2010
  • “I Hear” for choir and chamber orchestra, 2010
  •  “Vernee” for chamber orchestra, 2009
  •  “Al Shadda” for chamber orchestra, 2009
  •  “Aeyin” for 4 percussionists and conductor, 2008
  • Concert #2 for piano and chamber orchestra, 2008
  • Concert #1 for piano and percussions group, 2007
  • “Samandary” for chamber orchestra, 2007
  • “Urfany”, a Fantasy for chamber orchestra, 2007
  • “Sajda” for Soprano, Tenor, and camber orchestra, 2006  
  •  “Nyuva” – trio for violin, cello, and piano, 2003
  • “Zarra” – trio for flute, clarinet, and piano, 2003
  • “Ulduzlarin laylasy” (Lullaby of the Stars) for chamber orchestra, 2003
  • “Mooghfil” for eight cellos and four c-basses, 2001
  • “Javidy-Destgah”, Opera for choir, solos, narrator, actors, and percussion ensemble, 2001
  • “Maral oyunu” (Deers’ Plays) for tape solo, 2000
  • “Sahara”, a Fantasy for organ, 1999
  • “Jasmin lecheklery” (Jasmine’s Petals), cycle of seven microcosm preludes for piano, 1998
  • “Deniz” (the Sea), a Fantasy for 2 pianos and 2 saxophones (ad libitum), 1997
  • “Consensus” - sonata for flute solo, 1997
  • “Alla Meykhana”, a Fantasy for piano, 1996
  • “Pirebedil” for nine instruments, 1996
  • “Loom” - sonata for guitar solo, 1995
  • String Quartets: #3 “Tetraksis” (1995), #2 (1982), and #1 (1974)
  • “Se’maa” for twelve instruments, 1994
  • “Agog” - sonata for clarinet solo, 1994
  • “Monad” - sonata for piano, 1993
  • “Marseaya” for string quartet, voice quartet, wind quartet, and piano, 1993
  • “Dervish” for Tenor, Bass, and string quartet, 1992
  • “Gasida”, a Symphony for organ, 1991
  • “Light Plays Shadows” - sonata for C-bass solo, 1990
  • Sonata for violoncello solo, #2 (1988) and #1 (1986)
  • “Urfany”, a sextet for flute, piano, and string quartet, 1988
  • Sonata for violin solo, 1988
  • “Cheshma”, a cycle of twelve preludes for piano, 1984
  • Symphony #3 for 2 string quintets, two horns, piano, and percussions, 1983
  • Sonata for violin and piano, 1981
  • “The Solitary Voice” for full symphony orchestra, 1979 (new edition 2008)
  • Symphony #2 for full orchestra, 1977
  • Symphony #1 for full orchestra, 1976

           Rahilia Hasanova is an experienced professor (Docent, 2006) with more than thirty years of teaching classical and new experimental composition, music theory, and worldwide history of music (1997-2009) at the Baku Music Academy (formerly Baku Conservatory) and Baku School of Music (1977-1997). She received first-place awards for her research in music theory with over fifty scientific papers published in that field. She is an author of four published books as well as the first solfeggio and ear training textbook in post-soviet Azerbaijan entirely comprised of music samples of her own composition. She is also known as a public and Azerbaijani TV lecturer on the theory and history of modern music as well as Eastern, traditional music, such as “Mugam” and “Ashug music”.

Rahilia Hasanova published books:

  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku, “Araz”: 2009. “The World of Overtones”
  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku, “Elm”: 2006. “The Space of Sounds”
  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku, “Elm”: 2006. “The New Model of Catharsis”
  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku,”XXI-YNE”: 2002. “Solfeggio. A Comprehensive Course on Ear Training, Rhythm, and Dictation” and various articles in professional magazines.

She also published music CDs:

  • 2007, “Tetraksis”, Baku, Azerbaijan
  • 2006, “Kara Karaev’s Circle”, USA
  • 2005, “Dervish”, Cologne, Germany
  • 1996, “Music in Verse”, UK
  • 1994, “Fusions”, Baku, Azerbaijan

Remarkable premiers and performances of compositions of Rahilia Hasanova was featured in articles and journals. Her music was applauded at the Kara Karaev’s Festival of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (2011), International Festival of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (2008), Culture of Azerbaijan in Germany, Berlin, Germany (2008), Geneva, Switzerland – “Days of Azerbaijani in Switzerland”(2008), Concert series of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (2007), Contemporary Music of Azerbaijan, Vienna, Austria (2007), Concert of Azerbaijan’s Composers, Moscow, Russia (2003 and 2006), Various Compositions, “Donna in Musica” Festival, Rome, Italy (1999), Various Compositions, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1996), Various Compositions, Texas, USA (1994), Various, Compositions, Amsterdam / Hague /Utrecht, The Netherlands (1994), New Music of Azerbaijan, Baku, Azerbaijan (1994), Music of the 20th Century, Baku, Azerbaijan (1992), “Go Toward Zenith”, International Festival of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (1989), Meetings of Composers, Petersburg, Russia, Kiev, Ukraine and Minsk, Belarus (1974 and 1975),  International Conference and the Festival of Young Composers, Rostov, Russia (1972), and many others.

        Rahilia Hasanova had significant presentations at conferences and other events. She comprehends musical topics through multi-disciplinary points of view: “Beginning of Mugam: Historical Analyses” (National Academy of Science of Azerbaijan, 2007), “Acoustics and Music Theory” (Baku Music academy, 2005), “Music Theory as an Object of Multi-disciplinary approach” (National Academy of Science, Baku, 2004), “Solfeggio as a Practical Part of Music Theory” (Baku Music Academy, 2002), and so on. 

         Rahilia Hasanova was honored and awarded by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Culture for a theatrical musical “Maral” (2001), for string quartet and two male voices “Dervish” (1992), for the symphony for organ “Gasida” (1991), for the Symphony #3 for two string quintets, two horns, piano, and percussions (1989), for “Cheshma”, the cycle of twelve preludes for piano (1985, for the Symphony #2 for full orchestra (1978), and so on.

  Rahilia Hasanova received grants from the Soros “Open Society” Foundation to participate, speak at and to perform her music composition at the “Donna in Musica” Symposium and Festival in Italy in 2000, 1999, and 1998. Rahilia Hasanova recently moved to the USA (2009) as a permanent resident. She lives in Baltimore since 2011. Rahilia Hasanova is the member of the Baltimore Composers Forum (2012), the American Composers Forum (2009), “Donne in Musica” (Italy, 1998), and the Composers Union of Azerbaijan (1978).



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